Monday, March 26, 2012

Las Vegas and more!

Ok,  so I promised you some Zion photos, didn't I?  We spent last Wednesday and Thursday in Zion National Park in beautiful sunny weather hiking some fantastic trails.   We were immediately blown away as soon as we drove into the park.  Where else can you drive through a mile long tunnel no just through a mountain, but along the edge of it.  For one mile!

The drive in from the east

That "little" hole in the mountain was one of the windows that lit the tunnel we drove through

I had planned on doing the Narrows slot canyon trail, but was apparently unaware that in late winter/spring months the trail consists of wading and/or swimming through chest deep water that is currently 47 degrees.  So, we didn't do that trail.  But we did hike up to Angel Landing on Wednesday and also up the Riverside walk to check out the beginning of the Narrows trail.

The trail below

View from the top!

And here was our lovely campsite right on the river in the park:

This one's for Dad :)

The next day we hiked into Hidden Canyon to get a little bit of the Zion slot canyon experience.  It was mostly dry, but took some scrambling to get up and around some larger pools.

We also hiked into the Emerald Pools.  This was the uppermost pool:

We left Zion after our hike into the pools and had a hair-raising (for me at least) drive in to find our campsite for the night.  The scary drive was well worth it though, since we had this view all to ourselves:

We drove to Las Vegas on Friday to meet up with Sean and Danielle to get my first taste of The Strip.  Wow.  I can't even put that place into words.  We wandered up and down the strip on Friday night and I got to play with my camera in all the shiny lights:

On Saturday we drove out to Hoover Dam, driving over the dam on the old road:

New bridge!

Lake Mead

We headed out to Red Rock Canyon on Sunday and it was gorgeous!  It may just have saved my climbing career.  We had a beautiful day of climbing with no scary falls or scrapes or anything!  Just what I needed.

And finally, we drove through Death Valley today:

Zabriskie Point

Devil's Golf course

I could have used a couple more second on the timer!

Lowest Point in North America!

And here's me covered in salt from kneeling down to lick the salt flats.

We're now in Ridgecrest, Ca catching up with our awesome friend Anna-Maria.  In the morning we'll head up to Sequoia National Park and then Yosemite after that.  Keep your fingers crossed that we keep our warm weather for a little while longer!

Friday, March 23, 2012

How did Utah get to be so awesome?

We did it!  We left the comfort of our little Boulder home-away-from-home 6 months to the day that we originally left Maine.  We were sad to say by to Brandon, Lynne, and the pups but so excited for this next chapter!

Our first stop was Moab where we camped along the banks of the Colorado River at the trailhead for one of the super popular mountain biking spots.  As we sat there cooking our dinner, Search & Rescue pulled up and spent the next several hours getting an injured biker from somewhere out there on the trail.  Needless to say, that area was crossed off my list for our later biking adventures.  We had a nice warm night to gently ease ourselves back into truck living before it turned wet and frigid the next two days.

Stopping along the Colorado River

Our scenic drive in to Moab

See how warm and cozy I was?  Not for long. . . 

We went to Arches in the rain and managed to squeeze in a long hike in the afternoon between showers.  It actually turned out to be good hiking weather, but it was pretty iffy for a while.

That's Delicate Arch in the background.

In the pouring rain, we chose the 1/2 mile loop instead of the 3 mile hike in to the arch.

Landscape Arch

View from the trail

Partition arch (there was another mini one next to it)

Black arch

Double O arch

The Dark Angel

We saved our mountain biking for the next day since it was technically dry, but only because it was cold enough to snow on us.  We'd come all that way just to bike, so we headed out to the Moab Brands area and biked around getting a good sample of the types of biking out there.

I could only bike so long before the bumpy slickrock took its toll, so that afternoon we went to Canyonlands for a driving tour of the park (and to get another stamp in my little passport). 

Mesa arch

Apparently I can't look into the overcast direction of the sun for more than a second

Ok.  Now this brings us to Tuesday, right?  We had a long drive through Utah, checking off Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon in one day to get us camped out near Zion.  

One and only shot of Capitol Reef


Natural Arch

We spent Wednesday and Thursday in Zion, hiking and having a great time in what is now my favorite national park.  BUT. . . you're going to have to wait for those photos!  We're now in Las Vegas about to meet up with Sean and Danielle for the weekend so there will be much, much more to come soon!